In 2015, Jay Timmons and Rick Olson, a same-sex couple from Virginia, used a donor embryo from a friend and a gestational carrier in Wisconsin to add their third child, a son, to their family. The couple filed required paperwork with the Circuit Court in Dane County, WI to become the child’s legal parents and didn’t anticipate any issues. Their application was not contested, and the two men, both accomplished business professionals who married each other in 2008, submitted more than 150 letters of recommendation.
However, instead of a straightforward approval, the judge overseeing their case ultimately denied the application. In the process, he also removed the gestational carrier’s name from the birth certificate, essentially orphaning their new baby. The judge’s decisions were based on a report issued by a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem who billed Timmons and Olson an astonishing $100,000 for his work on the matter. The newly-appointed conservative judge’s ruling was that any surrogacy arrangement was akin to human trafficking, and that it didn’t matter how exceptional Timmons and Olson were as parents. Fortunately, that ruling was ultimately reversed, and Timmons and Olson were ultimately granted parental rights.
Fast forward to 2019: The two dads used their political connections to help push a bill through the Virginia General Assembly so other same-sex couples wouldn’t have to go through the same ordeal. In part, the bill they championed will update the language used in Virginia’s surrogacy laws to refer to “spouse” rather than “husband and wife.” The couple hopes that the updated law will show that any type of family can benefit from surrogacy arrangements.
We aim to provide our clients with a straightforward breakdown of what might seem to be a complicated and daunting process so that they can enjoy the beautiful experience of bringing a child into the world through surrogacy.To learn more, contact us today!